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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 14 November 2008
Having researched happiness and success for over 3 decades (more intensively during some periods than others), this is one of my top picks among books that provide good practical advice.

I actually compiled enormous amounts of information on what research discovered, taken from over a hundred different books varying from overcoming adversity, dealing with anger and/or fear, on forgiveness, through "true" success and all the way to optimism and happiness. I did condense what I collected into a book which was never published - friends and coaching clients found it fascinating but "too much information".

This is almost the book I wish I'd written - it distills the best of the happiness research into easy-to-use steps, illustrated with inspiring stories of how very happy people have surmounted personal tragedies using these happiness processes and habits. It offers three guiding principles to overcome common blocks to happiness and a seven-step programme to become "Happy for No Reason".

My other top picks:

- "The How of Happiness" by Lyubomirsky, solidly based on research by an insider, one of the most original and creative scientists within the field of happiness studies itself;

- for its detailed action steps that work well with "How": "Emotional Toolkit" by Mininni;

- Lyubomirsky's second book, "The Myths of Happiness" is more practical, sharing the secrets she has learned from rigorously conducted scientific studies;

- probably my number 1 is, "To Love is to be Happy With", a classic written by the founder of the famous "Options Institute", where people can live the process explained in his book.

Little that is really new and practical on happiness itself, apart from Lyubomirsky's books, appears to have been published in the last few years but I also rate these books, which elaborate on different aspects already known and reported within the happiness/health field:

- in 2015: "I Heart Me: The Science Of Self-Love" by Hamilton and particularly "Beyond Willpower" by Loyd, sharing amazingly quick processes for emotional clearing and success, it's even more powerful than his previous book "The Healing Code" for which there are over a thousand reviews on US Amazon, including many success stories and even physical healings;

- in 2013 "Happy Money by Dunn & Norton, about how best to spend your money to buy more happiness, and "Love 2.0", the second book by the eminent researcher Frederickson, on the myriad benefits of loving kindness - even the book felt much kinder than her first, the 2009 "Positivity", on the tipping point created by having 3 positive thoughts to every negative or neutral thought;

- in 2012 "The Longevity Project" by Friedman and Martin is a groundbreaking 80-year overview on what is really directly linked to happiness and health and "Resilience" by Southwick and Charney, who identify ten key and researched ways to weather, and bounce back from, stress and trauma;

- in 2011 Seligman's "Flourish" with its new emphasis on well-being rather than happiness and McTaggart's "The Bond" on the importance of relationships; and

- in 2010 "Why Kindness is Good For You" by Hamilton which expands on the importance of kindness and helping.]

In the end, however, having worked on myself intensively by using many of the tips, techniques and tools that I learned about over the last 15 years, I have found that HEALTH is the biggest determinant of happiness. To me, happiness is directly linked to well-being - or being well. Yes, there are happy sick people but for most of us it is our underlying constitution that controls our level of happiness. This is not exactly the same as the now-famous "happiness set point" because there are ways to improve basic health whereas it seems the set point is, well, set.
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on 18 December 2008
Written by the author of the best-selling Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Hearts and Rekindle the Spirits of Women (Chicken Soup for the Soul), this is one of the most popular happiness books around. While the author isn't a bona fide positive psychology researcher, that's not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to happiness books- although opinions vary.

Some people think that the best happiness books are written by the positive psychology researchers themselves- because they know the info the best. On the other hand, there are excellent happiness books around written by non-happiness researchers, such as Finding Happiness in a Frustrating World -penned by a physical therapist who began studying happiness after wondering how some of his patients in the hospital could be so happy- despite being so sick or faced with a grave prognosis. Sometimes its nice to get a non-happiness researcher's point of view- to avoid the inherent biases that people have when they discuss and write about their own research. You be the judge- on to the book.

The idea presented is to get the reader to become "Happy for No Reason"- which the book defines as true happiness that isn't dependent on external circumstances. You can then take a questionnaire to see how close you are to being "Happy for No Reason."

So if you're not quite there yet, how does the book intend to get you there? By several ways:

-you'll learn three guiding principles that will help you get past the common blocks to happiness
-you'll learn how to apply the "Law of Attraction" to being happier (the author was featured in the mega-bestseller The Secret which focuses on this law)
-you'll learn about a seven-step program to become "Happy for No Reason". Each step has three "Happiness Habits" with corresponding exercises.
-the author interviewed 100 happy people and shares 21 of their stories that define what it means to be "Happy for No Reason"- stories reminiscent of the "Chicken Soup" series.

A few comments. First, having read much happiness literature, readers should know that some of the things the book suggests you do to become happier ARE research based, such as focusing on gratitude (readers can check out Emmon's book Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier for more on expressing gratitude), while other advice, such as "trust life's unfolding" have NOT been shown to increase happiness levels in controlled trials.

Also, it should be obvious by my brief synopsis that the book has a lot of stuff for the reader to "do" in order to become happier. And, if readers "do" the exercises and become happier, the reason they're happier is because of the things they've done. This kinda goes against the whole point of the book- which is to show us how to become happier for NO reason. This confused me a bit.

Logic aside, there's plenty of value in this book. Happiness books written for the popular read seem to fall into one of two general categories. They're either mainly based on scientific evidence and give you research-tested techniques OR they primarily give you advice and things to think about to help you "reframe" your thinking. Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out seems to fit in the latter category- and for that I can recommend it to happiness searchers everywhere. Happy trails!
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on 14 June 2014
Marci Shimoff develops the paradigm that we can be 'Happy for No Reason'. Paradoxically, in chasing happiness by going for other things, we lose sight of something that is already there. How can we understand happiness? By understanding happy people. In assessing happy people, Shimoff argues that it is the habits adopted by such people that makes them happy. This is what Shimoff did, interviewed 100 people (the 'Happy 100') who were mentioned by others as being unusually happy, and looking at their behaviours.

After a brief overview of happiness and scientific and psychological accounts of what it is, we go straight into the main part of the book. Each section has three components, each one a facet of happiness, and each one containing at least one, but normally more than one, exercise. The components have interviews or stories of a member of the 'Happy 100' which is great because it lets you admire the adversity they overcame, and see what they did to overcome it. In this way, the book is not just instructional, with a helpful and well-laid out program, but inspirational. It gives you a wealth of tools to become a happier person, each habit helping to reach the paradigm of being 'Happy for No Reason'.
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on 14 August 2009
Before I started reading this book I knew there was a brigther side to life filled with happiness and peace but I never knew how to create it in my life permanently and would always slip back into my old routine of negative thinking. This fantastic book has really opened my eyes and heart to the happier side of life and in 4 days of reading it and using some of the action steps I feel uplifted, brighter and happy for no reason. The key to success in using this book is being committed and using the action steps daily. As with anything new you want to learn you need to practise it daily and this book has some fantastic steps to learn and put into practise to create new happier habits. This book really does help you to turn all your negative energy into much happier and positive energy and helps you create a much happier, healthier life. You get to choose which side of life to look at and sometimes it is all to easy to slip into those old negative patterns that have been ingrained into your mind - well this is some excellent news you can now change your happy set-point and with practice this book will help show you the way. I would definitely recommend this book 100%. Thank you Marci for a truely inspiring book.
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The book is okay, and has reasonable advice, presented in a reasonable way (and which echoes advice provided in lots of self-help / happiness books these days). Some interesting personal stories as well.

The book relies heavily however on case studies from the '100 happy' - which were apparently the 100 happiest people they could find in America, people who should serve as inspirations to the rest of us. And a major blow to credibility here is how many of these '100 happy' are celebrities or self-help gurus. There's Goldie Hawn, Catherine Oxenberg and (I don't feel like going back to the book to dredge up the names, but basically about 80% of the names are either film / TV stars or are people who sell self-help books such as The Secret) - only a very small minority of them are ordinary people with ordinary lives.

Perhaps it shouldn't have, but that seriously reduced my appreciation of this book. I just can't believe that so many celebrities are that happy, never mind that they are so over-represented in the list of the top. Biographies of famous people tend to indicate that they are often deeply insecure people, driven by a need to gain external approval. Maybe these are the exceptions, presented in this book - but it seems unlikely that there should be so many of them.

And then the self-help gurus. Okay, one might argue that they've devoted their lives to the cause, so maybe they've worked a thing or two out. But... they have a vested interest, don't they? I can't help but think there were all sorts of negotiations going on, with publishers hoping to promote other books by holding up the authors as examples of The Way.

Basically, there is often so much pressure to be happy (or rather, such a sense of failure associated with not being happy), especially in the US, that self reports of happiness just aren't that reliable. Especially when they come from people whose livelihood relies upon convincing others of that fact.

Summary: okay book, but big credibility gaps IMO.
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on 5 July 2009
I purchased Happy for no reason, by Marci Shimoff in about January of this year. I was so impressed I have since bought three more copies, one for my brothers birthday a few weeks ago, one for mother for mothers day and one for my father for fathers day! I found it to be an easy to read but very well researched and informative book. I have practiced some of the techniques and found them to be beneficial to my well being. It has no complicated techniques to learn and can be read in any order, I just pick it up from time to time and read where it falls open. To start with I read one chapter a night which I found went into my subconcious well and worked whilst I slept making me awake the next day with positive intentions. I would highly recommend this book.
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on 21 June 2009
Marci Shimoff shares pearls of wisdom in "Happy For No Reason". There is freedom in her suggestion that my thoughts aren't always true and not to believe everything I think - especially when my thoughts about my myself are unkind in nature. I am touched by the wonderful stories Marci Shimoff includes from 100 happy people she interviewed. Truly inspiring.

If you are inspired by Marci Shimoff as I am, check out Authors/Seminar Leaders, Ariel and Shya Kane. After reading their books, Working on Yourself Doesn't Work: The 3 Simple Ideas That Will Instantaneously Transform Your Life,How to Create a Magical Relationship: The 3 Simple Ideas that Will Instantaneously Transform Your Love Life and Being Here: Modern Day Tales of Enlightenment, I have found a sense of well-being that is consistent. Happiness is no longer a fleeting moment, but is now a life style.
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I am an avid reader of self-help books. Many of them ramble a bit, including The Secret. This book is stunning! It is so very easy and enjoyable to read. It is very well structured and well written. It really is brilliant. It is by far the best self-help book I have read. The techniques are simple to follow and since I've being doing them I feel great; they really do work. I really could go on and on about this but I just recommend that you read this book and practise the principles. It honestly will change your life, of that I'm convinced.
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on 6 March 2014
Really uplifting, inspiring book thatsis readable right to the end. Filled with great information, other peoples experirnced and stories snd exercises to do. I love it.
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on 20 February 2009
Read almost any book on how to live a fulfilling life--including my own book--and you will be told that happiness is something that comes from within. It is basically a choice, and that choice is not dependent upon outside circumstances. Making that choice can be a challenge, however. There are many things that can inhibit your ability to choose happiness. And that's where HAPPY FOR NO REASON can help. In this remarkable book, Marci Shimoff not only spells out all the traits that happy people have in common, but she also provides some very specific techniques and exercises to help you get over anything that may standing in the way of your happiness. I highly recommend this wonderful and helpful book.

Steven Lane Taylor, author of Row, Row, Row Your Boat: A Guide for Living Life in the Divine Flow
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